How to pronounce your favorite director's name

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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Doctor Sunshine
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#76 Post by Doctor Sunshine » Fri Jan 05, 2007 6:28 am

It honestly took me a couple years to settle between Mi-fu-ne and Mi-fun. Polish names kill me for some reason. Most Asian countries I maintain a strict "the guy who did blank" policy.

Jan Svankmajer is actually pronounced with the Js, I though. Miike I have pronounced at least 3 or 4 different ways over the years. From the Happiness of the Katakuris commentary (dubbed by two American actors), I'm not sure if I'd remembered it correctly, but I was saying (using Hepburn here) Mieke for a long time. Then, after a few books on the language, I'd settled on (phonetics here) Me(held the E and extra beat)keh. And now I'm hearing my first shot in the dark, Me-ee-keh, is right? I'm gonna have to start calling him the needle (eye jabbing gesture) guy now.

Learning Japanese seems to be popular here. Have many, or any, people here started learning a language in order to watch movies without the subtitles? I've started the process and, while I've actually rationalized it as a useful skill, I enjoy telling people that I'm learning Japanese just to watch movies. And my choice of languages was actually partially based on the demographics of my favourite films. Is anyone else this nerdy?

putney
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#77 Post by putney » Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:31 am

re: hearing accents in commentaries....
tape yourself talking naturally and then listen back, you'll hear what you could interpret as accents, but you'll know, is actually the natural line and melody and curve of speaking, expecially if you are expressing an opinion. as others said, it's better to start flat and move into accents when you know them as a modification, as opposed to vice versa.
(in the commentaries, you'll notice stress comes mostly in parts of words we'd all stress in our languages when we are expressing opinion...)
there are some words, yes that do have different accents ("ima" is another one.... front room or now, take your choice...) but it's the exception, not the rule...

(i made a mistake in my earlier post (haha, in english, a lot!) i wrote it this morning half awake...
miike would be
"mi"-"i"-"ke")

it's evening, but, i'm still tired today (jetlag) so please excuse more english typos...

putney

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MichaelB
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#78 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:33 am

Doctor Sunshine wrote:Jan Å vankmajer is actually pronounced with the Js, I though.
I'm not entirely sure what you mean, but just thought I'd confirm that both the 'J's are pronounced as 'Y's - i.e. 'Yan Shvankmyer', slight stress on the first syllable.

(However much educated guesswork I may have posted earlier in this thread, you really can absolutely trust me on this one!)

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orlik
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#79 Post by orlik » Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:33 pm

He's not exactly a favourite director of mine, but how do you pronounce Bo Widerberg's surname? Is it more or less the way you'd pronounce it in English (WEE-der-berg)?

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Mr Sausage
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#80 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Jan 05, 2007 5:14 pm

orlik wrote:He's not exactly a favourite director of mine, but how do you pronounce Bo Widerberg's surname? Is it more or less the way you'd pronounce it in English (WEE-der-berg)?
More like "VEE-der-berg," although I'm sure the sound Scandanavians use for those e's are slightly different from how an anglophone would do it. But close enough, I think. They're both Germanic languages, anyway.

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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#81 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Fri Jan 05, 2007 7:47 pm

Two Chinese names:

Tsui Hark -- I've seen no agreement on this, especially "Hark." I've been saying "Choy Hock," which a soft "ch" and a barely-audible "r" in "Hock," but I doubt that's right.

Wang Xiaoshuai -- I'm pretty sure the "Wang" is "Wong" and the "Xiao" is like the "Hsiao" in Hou's name (although the characters are different, so this may be wrong). But the "-shuai" trips me up. Do the "shu" and "ai" run together or are they separate syllables? (They're one character in Chinese, so I assume it's the former.) Does it rhyme with "hey," "eye," or neither?

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zedz
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#82 Post by zedz » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:03 pm

leo goldsmith wrote:'dziz∧s! 'dIdnt 'εniw∧n teIk lIngw'IstIks In 'kalIdz ?
Ha! I taught it! (Did somebody really describe a diphthong as a 'squishy' vowel or something?)

I was just going to say that this would all be so much easier if we used the phonetic alphabet, but then your post came up with several blanks in my browser. In a lot of these posts I can't even figure out how the explanations are supposed to be pronounced!

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#83 Post by Mise En Scene » Fri Jan 05, 2007 10:24 pm

The Fanciful Norwegian wrote:Tsui Hark -- I've seen no agreement on this, especially "Hark." I've been saying "Choy Hock," which a soft "ch" and a barely-audible "r" in "Hock," but I doubt that's right.
In Planet Hong Kong, Bordwell wrote it's pronounced: Chui Haak. Now, is the "Haak" pronounced like "hawk"?

This is a movie title, but how do you pronounce "Yi Yi"? I haven't watched the Criterion nor do I own it so...can anyone help me? Is it "Yee Yee" (which I have the hardest time saying; I just tell people Yang's "A One and A Two")? Or, is it "ee ee"...or something else?

As for Krzysztof Kieslowski, on the Kino DVDs Agnieszka Holland, at least sounds like to me, pronounces it "Shish-toff." I forget how she pronounced his last name.

As for Wong Kar-wai, Tony Leung on the 2046 DVD pronounced it both, "Way" and "Why."

Great thread.

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Mr Sausage
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#84 Post by Mr Sausage » Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:34 am

The Fanciful Norwegian wrote:Two Chinese names:

Tsui Hark -- I've seen no agreement on this, especially "Hark." I've been saying "Choy Hock," which a soft "ch" and a barely-audible "r" in "Hock," but I doubt that's right.
I'm not sure that's wrong. That's the way I was told to pronounce it, and also the way I've heard it pronounced. Perhaps the discrepancy comes from various dialect pronunciations?

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MichaelB
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#85 Post by MichaelB » Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:28 am

Mise En Scene wrote:As for Krzysztof Kieslowski, on the Kino DVDs Agnieszka Holland, at least sounds like to me, pronounces it "Shish-toff."
I imagine that if the name was written in Czech, it would be something like Křyštof - in which case the first two letters would be pronounced something like 'Krzh' - but said as though they were two letters, not four.

Much the same is true of Andrei and Ilya Krzhanovsky's surname - I had to utter this on BBC Radio 3 a year or two ago, though fortunately was able to find an MP3 of an interview with Ilya K. in which he confirmed the correct pronunciation.

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Kirkinson
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#86 Post by Kirkinson » Sat Jan 06, 2007 4:37 am

Many thanks for clarifying Krzhanovsky, MichaelB.
zedz wrote:I was just going to say that this would all be so much easier if we used the phonetic alphabet
I actually have the names I posted stored on my computer in IPA (because I'm just that much of a geek) but I'm finding I can't input half the characters into the message body. If anyone knows a way around this I could just do a quick copy-and-paste.

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Tommaso
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#87 Post by Tommaso » Sat Jan 06, 2007 7:13 am

Slightly unrelated perhaps, but I never know precisely what is the family name of a Chinese or Korean director. For example, in Zhang Yimou and Chan Wook Park, what is the family name?

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MichaelB
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#88 Post by MichaelB » Sat Jan 06, 2007 7:33 am

Tommaso wrote:Slightly unrelated perhaps, but I never know precisely what is the family name of a Chinese or Korean director. For example, in Zhang Yimou and Chan Wook Park, what is the family name?
Definitely 'Zhang' in Zhang Yimou's case, but I'm not sure how Korean names are constructed.

Other surnames are Chen (Kaige) and Wong (Kar-Wai) - though if it's anglicised the order is reversed, so John Woo, Jackie Chan and Fruit Chan all have their surnames last.

Also, Hungarian names are commonly printed surname first, as anyone familiar with Hungarian film credits will remember - though this practice doesn't extend to Hungarian names in other cultures (so it's always Béla Bartók outside Hungary, never Bartók Béla). It seems to be a two-way mutual-respect thing, too, as the opening credits for A Long Weekend in Pest and Buda list Eileen Atkins, in that order, alongside Makk Karoly, Darvas Ivan and so on.

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Michael Kerpan
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#89 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sat Jan 06, 2007 11:56 am

The best way of presenting East Asian names (on first appearance is putting the family name in ALL CAPS -- ZHANG Yimou, Yasujiro OZU, PARK Chan-wook (or Chan-wook PARK). As a general rule, standard (domestic) practice in China, Korea and Japan is family name first, then personal name and (if applicable) "middle name".

In places where people have both Western and Asian personal names (like Hong Kong), standard usage is western first name, family name, Asian first names. E.g. Maggie CHEUNG Man-yuk. (Officially, HK names are family name, Asian personal names, Western name).

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MichaelB
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#90 Post by MichaelB » Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:48 pm

Here's another one I can be 100% certain about - Quay (as in Brothers) is pronounced "Kway".

Mise En Scene
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#91 Post by Mise En Scene » Sun Jan 07, 2007 12:57 am

Tommaso wrote:Slightly unrelated perhaps, but I never know precisely what is the family name of a Chinese or Korean director. For example, in Zhang Yimou and Chan Wook Park, what is the family name?
If there is a hypen in the name then the family name is not any of the pair. I don't think that's a sureshot way though.

Why is it that Chinese and Korean names in English books/articles usually go with family name first (e.g., Hong Sang-soo; Wong Kar-wai), but Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese are family name last (e.g., Yasujiro Ozu; Pen-ek Ratanaruang; Anh Hung Tran)?

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#92 Post by denti alligator » Sun Jan 07, 2007 1:02 am

MichaelB wrote:Here's another one I can be 100% certain about - Quay (as in Brothers) is pronounced "Kway".
I found it amusing that this was explained in the dictionary included in the bfi set. In the US, the word quay has to be one of the most commonly mis-pronounced (as "kway") words. I've had well-educated, extremely intelligent people look at me funny when I pronounced it correctly ("key").

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The Fanciful Norwegian
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#93 Post by The Fanciful Norwegian » Sun Jan 07, 2007 2:14 am

Mise En Scene wrote:Why is it that Chinese and Korean names in English books/articles usually go with family name first (e.g., Hong Sang-soo; Wong Kar-wai), but Japanese, Thai, and Vietnamese are family name last (e.g., Yasujiro Ozu; Pen-ek Ratanaruang; Anh Hung Tran)?
The Thai put their family names last, not first, so no shuffling is necessary when rendering the name in English. Vietnamese names are generally written family name first (e.g. "Nguyen Van Thieu," "Nguyen Tan Dung," "Vo Nguyen Giap") unless they reside in a Western country and have adopted the "Western" style. You probably see "Anh Hung Tran" a lot because he lives in France, although Google shows that "Tran Anh Hung" is still more common. I'm not sure about Japanese names, but it appears to be standard practice even in Japan to switch the order when using Roman characters, whereas this has largely fallen by the wayside in Korea and China. So it may be Western writers stick with the "wrong" order for Japanese names because the Japanese themselves aren't actively discouraging it. By way of comparison, the Japanese Prime Minister's office refers to "Shizuo Abe" on its English-language website; the President of South Korea's equivalent website uses "Roh Moo-hyun".

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MichaelB
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#94 Post by MichaelB » Sun Jan 07, 2007 4:25 am

denti alligator wrote:I found it amusing that this was explained in the dictionary included in the bfi set. In the US, the word quay has to be one of the most commonly mis-pronounced (as "kway") words. I've had well-educated, extremely intelligent people look at me funny when I pronounced it correctly ("key").
That was literally a last-minute addition, made between the first and second proofs of the booklet.

On the same day, I heard someone at work pronounced their name "key" and since we had a tiny bit of space left, so I thought "let's nail this once and for all" and added that entry after I realised that nowhere on the DVD, despite two interviews and six commentaries, is the name "Quay" uttered out loud.

Incidentally, it's the BFI, not the bfi.

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Lemmy Caution
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#95 Post by Lemmy Caution » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:17 am

Now I'm not a native Mandarin speaker but have lived in China for a decade. So let me see if I can help a bit (or add to the confusion).
The Fanciful Norwegian wrote:Tsui Hark -- I've seen no agreement on this, especially "Hark." I've been saying "Choy Hock," which a soft "ch" and a barely-audible "r" in "Hock," but I doubt that's right.

In Planet Hong Kong, Bordwell wrote it's pronounced: Chui Haak. Now, is the "Haak" pronounced like "hawk"?
The "Haak" would be pronounced "Hock" as written above. But the problem here -- as somebody else mentioned above -- is that there are many different dialects and sub-dialects of Chinese. I like to joke that my district of Shanghai has its own sub-dialect with my street having its own sub-subdialect. Something akin to "Choy Hock" might be a good approximation of the Cantonese, if you can do a Cantonese accent (with all those "ng" and "oy" sounds. But I only deal in Mandarin, myself.
Wang Xiaoshuai -- I'm pretty sure the "Wang" is "Wong" and the "Xiao" is like the "Hsiao" in Hou's name (although the characters are different, so this may be wrong).
Exactly right.

The problem is that there are three Romanization systems for Chinese, with at least two commonly used. [And let's just stick to Mandarin for this]. In mainland China, PinYin (pronounced peen-yeen) is used. There are also two older systems: Yale and Wade-Gilles, the latter I believe in use in Taiwan.

The "Sh" sound is represented by an "X" in Pinyin (that is China), but an "Hs" in Taiwan (W-G, I believe).

So Xiao and Hsiao are two different romanizations of the same sound/character(s) in Chinese (equivalent to the English "sh").

The "ch" sound is denoted by a "q" in Pinyin and "ts" in the Wade-Gilles system. In China, the city pronounced phonetically Ching-dow, is written in Pinyin as QingDao, but the famous Chinese beer is still written in the old manner TsingTao.
But the "-shuai" trips me up. Do the "shu" and "ai" run together or are they separate syllables? (They're one character in Chinese, so I assume it's the former.) Does it rhyme with "hey," "eye," or neither?
If it's just "Shu" or "Xu" it would be pronounced like "Shoe"

But adding another vowel makes the "u" become a "w' sound.

So "Shui" (meaning water or something else depending on the tone) would be pronounced Shway.

Now, "Shuai" looks a little funny to me, so I'd have to see the character or the meaning. I'm guessing that it would be pronounced with an "i" sound, like Sh+why said together.

Wang Xiaoshuai = Wong Show (as in "shower") Shwhy [I explained in an earlier post that Xiao is actually pronounced as She+ow, but the "e" sound is quick and blends in, so Show (as in "shower) is fairly close.
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This is a movie title, but how do you pronounce "Yi Yi"? I haven't watched the Criterion nor do I own it so...can anyone help me? Is it "Yee Yee" (which I have the hardest time saying; I just tell people Yang's "A One and A Two")? Or, is it "ee ee"...or something else?
For pronunciation, Yee Yee it is. But the long "e" sound doesn't need to be extended.

I should probably ask a Chinese person about this, but I'm pretty certain, unless my memory is slipping, that the Chinese title is written Yi Er which means One Two. I didn't actually like the film, and am not much into recent Asian films, so I haven't asked anyone, about the difference with the Englsih title(s).

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#96 Post by jmj713 » Fri Jan 19, 2007 11:00 am

Being Russian, Krzhanovsky is easy for me. It's actually KrzhaNOvskiy (zh as in treasure, the iy on the end is not an ee sound, but two separate vowels).

It would be best to compile a list of all these names into a table with simple transcription and IPA for the linguists (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ipa).

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#97 Post by foggy eyes » Wed Jan 24, 2007 9:05 am

Stumped on this one...

Jia Zhang-ke = Zhar Zhang-Kuh?

Also: Hong Sang-soo?

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#98 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jan 24, 2007 10:21 am

foggy eyes wrote:Also: Hong Sang-soo?
Hong (o as in honk) Song (as in song) Soo (as in sue)

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#99 Post by Lemmy Caution » Wed Jan 24, 2007 4:51 pm

Jia Zhang-ke = Jah Jahng Kuh

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#100 Post by justeleblanc » Wed Jan 24, 2007 6:32 pm

Bulle Ogier???

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